You Know How Nikki Is

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‘You know how Nikki is.’ Five words I was never meant to hear. Someone who is supposed to care about me, love and protect me said ‘You know how Nikki is.’

It wasn’t said in a ‘nudge nudge, wink wink’ way. It wasn’t ‘You know how Nikki is funny?’

No.

It was said with judgement and oozing with eye rolls and condescending sighs.

I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I was diagnosed more than a decade ago after my Father’s death. I know that a lot of people don’t understand what it’s like to truly have OCD. It’s become a bit of a joke really. A cute little thing we say in passing when we’re talking about liking something a certain way. ‘Oh, I’m so OCD about my linen closet’ and the likes.

The thing is, there is nothing cute about OCD. At its worst, it takes over your life. Hours are spent obsessing on things and then of course completing ‘tasks’ that ease those obsessions for just a moment until the next terrifying thing rears its ugly head and then it all starts over. At its best, you learn to manage it, but to do so you must go through hell and face every demon you have lurking inside you. You have to look every fear you have in the face and have a figurative staring contest, but one you HAVE to win. Eyes watering, yet dried out over and over again until that one thought is something you have semi mastered and can move on to the next horrifying one and then the game continues. Repeatedly. For as long as it takes you to find a way to manage them all.

I’m a washer. My obsessions are all based around germs and how to avoid them. I wash my hands a lot and avoid contact with things that I feel are contaminated. But in truth, when you look at the world through OCD eyes, most of the world looks contaminated.

I’ve worked hard for many years to learn how to manage my OCD. At first I learned how to hide it and how to do things in ways that allowed me to not touch things. I can open doors without really touching them. I can clean things with no one noticing. I traveled across the country by car and never once used a public restroom.

Fear can make you extremely creative. When that creativity became so time-consuming and over-whelming I started to really learn how to manage my anxiety which in turn lessons my intrusive, obsessive thoughts and actions.

So to hear someone I care about, who is supposed to be on my side, someone I’ve confided in say ‘You know how Nikki is’ left me feeling hurt, confused and frustrated, but mostly it brought up a sense of shame that I hadn’t felt in a long time. That shame made me realize that in some cases, with some people, no matter how far I’ve come, I’ll always be labeled in their mind. Even with some of the people who I thought were on my side. In that moment, I felt like I would never be good enough and that no matter how far I move away from OCD, it will never be enough for some people.

Today, when I think back to the moment I heard those words I was never supposed to hear, words that felt like a slap across my face, words that, in the moment brought up such a deep-seated sense of shame…. I can only smile and think….You have no idea how Nikki is.

Nikki is strong and resilient.

Nikki fights against every intrusive thought that enters her mind.

Nikki battles against a mental illness that nearly destroyed her life.

Nikki stares her fears in the face until she wins.

Nikki will never allow you to make her feel small or weak or less than because of something you do not understand.

THAT is ‘how Nikki is.’

~~~

If you would like more information on OCD:  International OCD Foundation

 

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45 thoughts on “You Know How Nikki Is

    1. Thank you. ❤ It was a good growing experience for me and it's also a reminder that not everyone you care about is going to understand you. It happened many years ago so I've really moved past it but it was something I wanted to write about.

      I know you're a good friend so I'm certain you are compassionate and understanding with your other OCD friends. It means so much to have someones support when you're struggling with something that feels completely out of your control. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nikki, beautifully said. You are brave. I hope this will help the rest of the world to become more compassionate to the challenges others face each day. I have a similar line I say to myself when I feel that others are judging me incorrectly. I say, “You don’t really know me.” This allows me to forgive others and continue to love myself the way I am. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have to tell you, this made me cry. This happened a long time ago, years ago actually but I wanted to share it because it really made me grow and thought it might help someone else. Your comment shows me that it was a good choice to share it. Thank you so much for your words. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You are dealing with your OCD issues. And doing a good job at it.
    But you should not have to deal with cruel people who don’t ” know how Nikki is”

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  3. YOU TELL THEM! That makes me both so angry and sad too…. 😦 It’s amazing though that you know who YOU are and that you are able to stand firm in that. Most people wouldn’t be able to articulate this in such a way that demonstrates both vulnerability yet confidence… It demonstrates your strength. I wish that you didn’t have to deal with OCD, it truly is misunderstood by the general population, but at the same time I think that is part of where your strength comes from? Challenges inevitably either break us or make us (Yikes, so cliche!)… and you have such a brave, kind heart despite it all. You use your experiences to inspire others and say, “No, I’m not perfect BUT neither are you- so let’s navigate this thing called life together”. THAT is INCREDIBLE. Anyone could have that said about them too, “You know how ___ is”. We all have our things, we all have our idiosyncrasies, struggles, things that plague us that we have no choice in, and if someone doesn’t appreciate that those make up an entire beautiful person, then they can just go (I wish I could insert a meme here- haha). So thankful for you Nikki, and every little bit of the person that you are.

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  4. “Nikki stares her fears in the face until she wins.” Oh man, I love that! It is so powerful, makes me think of a force of nature, like the wind, which can hold itself against anything and destroy anything that gets in its way. Powerful!!! You are stronger than you think and, frankly, I think you are absolutely amazing. So proud to call you my sisterfriend! You are my favorite Nikki in the entire universe! 🙂

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  5. That reminds me of being pigeon-holed by my family. They treat me like I’m the same lazy teenager I was years ago. I get up at 4a to go to work and they think they need to remind me to help out at a get together. In a lot of ways, I’ve grown up more than they have!!
    I struggle with different issues now. I battle a mild case of OCD, I call it perfectionism. My hubby thinks I’m crazy, but he doesn’t know what defeated perfectionism is all about. I’m 4 days into a 5 day job of cleaning my office. The old me would never have even started the job since I knew it would take more than a day!!!

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  6. Often people just do not think before they speak. You are strong and resilient and I could not imagine what it would be like to live each day with OCD. I struggle with depression and anxiety, however with lots of therapy and medication I have learned how to manage it. Your post is so powerful to remind people that people are often dealing with things that we might not know about, people are often overcoming silent challenges while they look ‘normal’ on a day to day basis. Thanks for sharing and I’m sorry you had someone close to you make an unthoughtful and hurtful remark.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this kind response. I totally agree that she wasn’t thinking. That makes it hurt a little more because she should have been. But it was a long time ago and I’ve moved past this. I can’t say I will ever forget it, but I can move past it. Congrats on learning to manage your anxiety and depression. You should be very proud. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Words can be so harmful. No one knows what it is like to walk in the shoes of another. Often people impose their views and values on us without really knowing who we are. I’m glad that you were able to deal with this even though it was painful.

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  8. What a wonderful post! I love how you can look back on that comment with a new perspective. With more people like you spreading awareness on OCD, we can help break the stigma and mis-information around it, hopefully stopping more of those painful words from being spoken in the future. You ARE strong and resilient!

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